Verses of ingenuity | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 29, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 29, 2019

Verses of ingenuity

The stigma attached to Bangladeshi writers putting forth their thoughts in English is not new. It is often frowned upon by puritans of Bengali literature, acting as ‘gatekeepers’ raising questions on the motives of the writers themselves.

Amidst the negativity, however, budding Bangladeshi writers are coming up with original, inspiring work which puts into light the potential in youngsters among us. On Days Like This, Stygian Serendipity and Finding Chi are such books, by Shaira Afrida Oyshee, Mugdha Chandrika and Rahul Haque respectively.

Shaira Afrida Oyshee’s On Days Like This immediately impresses at first glance with its stunning cover illustration. The poems, while similar in presentation to the works of Rupi Kaur,  is more than just homage to the Canadian-Indian writer. “The moment I stepped in to a completely unfamiliar city of Melbourne alone, I started to find my muse in the different characters in the city,” says Shaira, who is currently a student at the University of Melbourne. Soon, her cognizance would fill her notebooks with beautiful verses, each with their unique quirks. The book was first published by Journeyman Books in the Frankfurt Book Fair 2018. 

Bangladesh-based writer Mugdha Chandrika’s Stygian Serendipity reflects her passion in dark poetry, portraying  various aspects of societal issues through the use of a deluge of surrealism and realism. “I prefer to think of my pieces as a blank canvas,” says Mugdha. “The reader can derive their own meaning from it.” The writer, who is an undergraduate student of ULAB, says that she is more eloquent while writing in English. Stygian Serendipity was published by Panjeree Publications Ltd.

Finding Chi, written by Rahul Haque, is his self-proclaimed struggle to convey the incommunicable. The writer, who moved to Dhaka from Toronto in 2014, is surprisingly eloquent in his ‘fresh look at life’. While the book’s structure is more conventional than the other two, it speaks of restlessness, energy, paranoia and paradox. These books are only three of the many English works by young and talented writers, who could bloom if given the support and appreciation.

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